Mecca soon to host the world’s largest hotel

Abraj Kudai, rendering by Dar Al-Handasah

If size does indeed matter for you, start planning your trip to Mecca, Saudi Arabia (Muslims only) for 2017, when the world’s largest hotel is set to open.

At almost 686,000 square feet, the $3.5-billion Abraj Kudai will be home to 10,000 rooms, 70 restaurants, a shopping mall, “royal floors,” prayer halls, and a convention center, all spread among 12 separate towers topped with helipads. The focal point, however, will be the central dome, expected to be one of the largest of the world.

As the site of the hotel is only about a mile from the Masjid al-Ḥarām, the largest mosque in the world, which surrounds the Kaaba, no doubt the hotel will host many of the millions who come on hajj each year. However, guests may need a robust bank account to book a room, as the towers aim clearly for the high end, with four-star luxury in 10 towers, and five-star in 2.

rendering by Dar Al-Handasah

As for the architecture, the Abraj Kudai looks like a semi-futuristic, sand-colored, desert version of a 1930s Manhattan high-rise. Inside, London-based design practice Areen Hospitality has been given the task of decorating the vast spaces, a major challenge indeed, especially with no operators in place yet.

But it’s no sweat off the brow of Areen Hospitality, according to Andrew Lindwood, head of design at Areen Hospitality, who told, “We allow for this and have the experience to respond to such a challenge, without ever losing the creative essence needed to welcome and surprise the guests expected at Abraj Kudai.”

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